Swedien is a five-time Grammy winner and has been nominated 13 times. He recorded, mixed, and assisted in producing the best-selling album in the world, Thriller by Michael Jackson. He was the primary sound engineer for Jackson's studio recordings from 1978 to 2001.
He also recorded and mixed for jazz artists such as Count Basie, Art Blakey, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Lionel Hampton, Quincy Jones, Oscar Peterson, Herbie Hancock and Jeff Oster. His pop work includes Patti Austin, Natalie Cole, Roberta Flack, Mick Jagger, Jennifer Lopez, Paul McCartney, Diana Ross, Rufus, Chaka Khan, Barbra Streisand, Lena Horne, Donna Summer, Sarah Vaughan, and the zouk band Kassav'. He worked on the scores for Night Shift, The Color Purple and Running Scared.
On 10 November 2001, he was awarded an honorary doctorate in philosophy from the Luleå University of Technology, Sweden for his achievements as a sound engineer. Swedien also held "masterclasses" at the Swedish National Radio for practicing sound engineers.
Although born in Minneapolis, Bruce started his studio career in Chicago, working at Universal Studios under chief engineer Bill Putnam. He first met Quincy Jones there while Jones was vice president for Mercury Records in Chicago. The two worked on albums for artists like Dinah Washington and Sarah Vaughan. Bruce later moved to Brunswick Records in the late 1960s and 1970s where he ran and developed the label's studios and sound. The label, under producer Carl Davis, was responsible for numerous R&B and pop hits during that time, with artists such as The Chi-Lites, Tyrone Davis and Jackie Wilson.
Swedien is noted for pioneering the 'Acusonic Recording Process' which involves pairing up microphones together on vocals and instruments when making recordings. This achieved an enhanced roomy ambient sound, some of which is evident on albums produced in collaboration with Quincy Jones on tracks such as "Sounds And Stuff Like That!!", George Benson's "Give Me the Night", and the Michael Jackson albums he worked on.
- Swedien, Bruce (2003). Make Mine Music. Norway: MIA Musikk. ISBN 82-996756-1-8.
- Swedien, Bruce (2009). In the studio with Michael Jackson. New York: Hal Leonard Books. ISBN 978-1-4234-6495-2.
- In The Studio with Bruce Swedien
- Archived interview with Mr. Bonzai, November 2006
- Bruce Swedien on Recording, Mixing Michael Jackson
- Bruce Swedien Interview
- Swedien Works With Jennifer Lopez
- Bruce Swedien On Recording Jennifer Lopez
- Bruce Swedien - Microphones Master Class
- An Incredible New Sound for Engineers
- Bruce Swedien's Autobiography 'Make Mine Music'
- Bruce Swedien discusses Jeff Oster
- Q&A session with Bruce Swedien on GearSlutz